advice, anxiety & mental health posts, eating disorder, my thoughts, myself, Q&A, Uncategorized

Obsessed with numbers (likes, followers, macros, calories)? Controlling life and putting your worth in numbers.

Hey! So I was just wondering what your thoughts on the way many seem to track everything down to every little detail. For instance, tracking macroes, calories, water intake, steps, sleep, periods, likes, followers etc etc. I know it can be a great help on some areas, but it has become such a major stressor to feel like you always need to be on top of everything and manage everything perfectly…

I think this is a really good question and something i think about quite a bit, so thought i would answer in a post.

I have writte a similar post HERE

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We are a society that are controlled by numbers. We put our worth in numbers – whether it is calories, macros, money, weight, number of friends we have, grades, likes, followers etc

And according to me it isn’t healthy. We are so much more than numbers and we should not put our worth in numbers. I.e you aren’t a better person just because you weigh less, you aren’t necessarily smarter just because you get a better grade (you may be smarter in that topic or maybe you are just very good at tests and assignments), you aren’t necessarily happier just because you have more money (even if money can make life easier), and you aren’t better than someone else because you have more likes or followers on social media. But yet, that is how some people think.

It can get obsessive and controlling to always keep track of everything.

Of course making sure you drink enough water, get enough hours of sleep and eat a balanced intake is a good idea. But you don’t have to know precisely how many calories you eat or that you get exactly 8 hours sleep every night, or that you drink exactly 2l water everyday. It can vary over time and still be balanced and healthy.

My post about counting calories HERE and always counting hours exercised HERE & post with tips to stop counting calories 

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I think it is a mostly control thing. Most people want control in their life… and if there are things in their life that they can’t control such as school or work or family, then they can control their food or their exercise. To some extent it can be ok to track things and have some form of control, but when it becomes obsessive where you feel like a terrible person because you ate more calories than your “allowed” calories, or because you only got 5 hours sleep instead of 8 or because you didn’t workout for x minutes like you usually do… then it can become healthy and far too controlling. Just like people online who are obsessed with followers and likes – to the point where they can have a break down if people unfollow them or they don’t get enough likes – according to me that is very unhealthy and the person doesn’t have a healthy relationship with social media then, and my advice would be to take a pause from social media if you are far too caught up in numbers. (My post HERE: Are you obsessed with social media)

If you find that you are a little too controlling and obsessed with tracking your life, then i would suggest you try to take a step back and analyze your behaviour and mindset.

For some people trackers such as fitbit on your mobile can be a good idea, as they need a reminder to get some steps in or to drink water or to understand healthy portions/foods. But if it takes over your life where you begin to feel guilty if you don’t reach a certain number or you can’t break free from a certain routine/habit/tracking, then you need to do something about it.

Wanting to track everything is often due to control reasons but may also be due to perfectionism… wanting everything to be perfect. Or maybe because you are scared of change or scared of what will happen if you eat more or exercise less, or you think you are aren’t as worthy if you don’t get “enough” likes or get the top grade.

My best advice is to try to take a step back. Think about why you track these things in your life so much. What would happen if you didn’t track them? You would still be alive, you would still be functioning, you would still be healthy (maybe even healthier!). It’s good to have healthy routines but tracking things to an obsessive or extreme level is not healthy.

In the past i used to track calories and macros, i would force myself to workout x minutes/Hours everyday and would track how many hours i spent resting vs. being active, and even had a time i got very caught up in followers/likes, however i have managed to overcome all of those and ind a balance with food, exercise and social media. I wish i could give you some more advice, but if i am honest i don’t really know how i found balance. All i can say is that it was extremely tiring and time consuming to have to track all those things in my life… to always have a maths game going on in my head, i barely had energy to live life or think of other things apart from the things i was tracking in my life.

I guess my best tip is to step outside of your comfort zone… try to do new things, spontaneous thins and try to distract yourself when the thoughts of wanting to track and count begin to pop up in your head. It’s a process, but you can learn to have a more relaxed approach to all those different elements in your life, without putting your worth in numbers.

My personal opinion is that 1) if you feel bad because you don’t get enough likes or followers on your social media then you need to recheck your mindset and relationship to social media. And if you 2) meticulously track your calories, macros and exercise… then you need to do something about it. Some people find that tracking calories/macros helps them with control, however if you can never eat a spontaneous meal or an untracked meal without feeling guilty, then you don’t have a healthy relationship with food. It is one thing to track just to make sure you are eating enough and another thing to track to strictly that you can’t eat anything untracked or anything “different”… then it is an unhealthy behaviour.

 

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1 thought on “Obsessed with numbers (likes, followers, macros, calories)? Controlling life and putting your worth in numbers.”

  1. I think its a very fine line between tracking just so you know where you are and that tracking turning into an obsession. It is easily crossed and I agree, its not a healthy mindset to be in and its so tiring – a stress in itself.
    That’s what I was beginning to feel when I had to follow a meal plan – eat food at acertain time and a certain amount – now I am free of that and more or less eating intuitively it is ALOT better, and nicer! Of course I still have to keep tabs on what I eat but I have learnt its ok to feel hungry for one meal but not so much for another, but that’s ok because I know it will balance out. The only thing I do keep track of these days is my income and outgoings – purely because it helps me to know where I am financially.
    You can overcome obsessive tracking but it is a process that only you can do. And believe me, not having all those controlling thoughts in your head is far nicer than obsessive ones 🙂

    Like

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